Not the way I wanted to kick off my favorite season of the year. Despite the low expectations of a quarantined October, The Prodigy made me feel even worse. Alas, I am excited to be released from my chains yet again to bring you horror movie madness all month long with 2020’s incarnation of the MASSACRE MARATHON!!!
The past two years I’ve held onto my marathon results, waiting for the perfect time to unleash my opinions into the putrid air of this hellscape we call home. Well, I no longer prolong…err…! Each night I will be bringing forth, in addition to the main feature, not one but TWO bonus reviews from the not so distant past. These extra musings will most likely only be snippets due to time constraints, but in the future I plan on giving the love and attention deserved to those films that are lucky enough to be rewatched.
What do you get when you mix Piper Chapman from Orange Is the New Black, Georgie Denbrough from It, and Reginald Hargreeves from The Umbrella Academy? Nothing worth shaking a severed hand at, apparently. The Prodigy combines elements from Child’s Play and The Omen to shit out the most bland, unengaging result possible. It all plays out like “baby’s first PG-13 horror movie”, only throwing in a few no-no words to push it up to an R-rating. I found myself mentally throwing the plot up onto the screen as it went along, always two steps ahead. I’m not trying to brag, it’s just that The Prodigy felt like it was generated by a “safe movie”-making machine. It didn’t take any risks at all.
There was exactly 1 (one) time that my eyes weren’t completely glazed over and that was a cheap split second use of face-changing technology on the skeleton boy’s head. Speaking of which, the image of him with the face paint on used in all of the promotional material turned out to be blink-and-you’ll-miss-it in the final cut. There could have been a couple redeeming scenes with innocent kids being harassed on Halloween but the holiday is unlovingly skipped right over.
I was excited to see Jackson Robert Scott’s next big film after his brilliant performance in 2017’s It, but unfortunately he signed on to a stinker. He is great so far in Netflix’s Locke & Key so at least there is that. There was one moment at the end of The Prodigy (when for once the movie doesn’t cut to black before the action happens) where they could’ve used his charisma to really make an impact and potentially save the film. Maybe even introduce us to a new legendary child slasher. Sadly, this was only a flash of illumination in an otherwise dim, forgettable failure.
1 handshake out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (from MASSACRE MARATHON 2018)
Now that we have gotten the disappointment out of the way why don’t we slip into something more comfortable? Back in 2018 one of the biggest stories in the industry was the discovery of filmmaker Ari Aster (Midsommar) with his debut feature-length Hereditary. The film wasn’t a masterpiece, but what struck audiences worldwide was how freshly original this well made story was presented. I didn’t care for the direction the plot took in the final act but the rest of the movie had it all. Killer performances cast-wide, grisly gore, subtle creepiness, even child harm! It also had one of those “Oh SHIT!” moments where everyone in the theater was stunned in silence. Definitely my pick for original horror movie of that year!
4 telephone poles out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (from MASSACRE MARATHON 2019)
Aftershock is yet another of Eli Roth’s projects featuring his then future-wife, now ex-wife Lorenza Izzo (The Green Inferno, Knock Knock) based on the 2010 Chilean 8.8 scale earthquake and the ensuing chaos. It’s basically a disaster movie that emphasizes the horribleness of the deaths. Throw in some sleaze and a good amount of varied demise and you’ve got a watchable but not particularly memorable flick.
3 tremors out of 5